"I Don't hate them, but I seem to feel better when they're not around."
- Henry Chinaski
Squamish has never had a good reputation.
However, once here you quickly learn the curtain of Squamish's image has done a remarkable job in keeping people at bay with the countless horror story "incidents" that us living here know too well. But as everyone who has fallen for this town will tell you, it's an amazing moment when black and white turns vibrant color and you first recognize our dramatic potential.
This brings me to the latest image bashing that included an extra pinch of salt in wound due to the fact that it came from the pen of a stereotypical American. Not one of the good Americans that are reportedly flooding across our borders daily escaping their current insanity. But one of the people flagrantly oblivious to the fact that American / World relations are at an all time low. It was bearable for years, but since the countless hostile attacks by George W Bush things have heated up. He has taken great pleasure omitting Canada from his inauguration speech and his list of friends after 9-11. Then there's the token "republican war" on weapons of mass disappearance. Not to mention rubbing our nose in the fact that they have controll of our forest industry. Recently however the light above my brain went off when the American who took an add out to bash our town, remarked that he would not be coming back to our "infested" community to buy a second home.
Well I'll be damned if the moment I read that, I didn't actually hear the bullet fly past. That's what I've been afraid of the moment we got the bid. I'm afraid of loosing Squamish and the most passionate community spirit I've ever experienced. Just like the community of Whistler that was destroyed by countless second and third homes that sit empty 9 months out of the year.
Those people don't volunteer for the soup kitchen, or help out the Rotary. They're not in drag pushing their neighbors in a bed down Cleveland Avenue, and they don't stand on the side of the highway directing their friends on the last leg of the Triathlon or Test of Metal.
What they do, and do well, is shovel cash by the bucket load while driving house prices up to the point where our friends and children - the heart and soul of the community- have to feel the bums rush as living expenses fly far past their means. Already special people are packing their bags and saying goodbye as the housing market rushes them quickly out of town.
The next few years are going to be challenging to say the least. We're headed for a boom economy and it will take all our passion and strength to ensure people who stay here are people who see Squamish for the jewel it is and not just for the short term 5 ring circus that's headed our way.